The Porse building in central Blenheim. Photo: Matt Brown.

High rise apartment plan in jeopardy

Plans to tackle Blenheim’s growing number of empty shops by building town centre apartments have met with mounting opposition.

Consents to turn the second and fourth levels of the Porse building, on Market St North, into eight residential apartments are being considered by council.

But stiff opposition from surrounding businesses means the plans may be scrapped before the project even gets started.

A bevy of Market St businesses expressed their opposition to the inner-city apartments at a hearing at council yesterday.

Concerns of ‘reverse sensitivity’, increased traffic and the removal of car parking and loading zones were put forward by former deputy mayor and owner of the Biddy Kate’s Irish Bar Terry Sloan.

Several other businesses have joined Terry’s official objection, causing the consenting process to grind to a halt while a hearing in front of the council’s resource hearings commissioner was held.

Bikefit, Lighting Plus, Caci Clinic and Community Law added their voice to Terry’s, citing fears of increased traffic and parking problems.

In his initial submission, Terry says he was worried the normal operating noise of the bar and cafe could prompt complaints.

A bar has been operating in the Criterion building for more than 100 years.

It currently has a license to operate until 3am seven days a week.

The apartments at the Porse building, ranging in floor area from 62 square metres to 110 square metres, have been in the pipeline for building owners TH Barnes & Co since late last year.

Consents show vacant shop frontage on the street could be converted to a car parking garage and storage for each of the units.

The car parking garage entrance would require the loading zone on the street to be moved or removed.

Originally built for the Inland Revenue Department in 1987, the government agency downsized and quit the region shortly after completion.

Since then, the building has been largely vacant.

In evidence submitted to council, TH Barnes & Co Ltd director Jason Barnes says they had to reconsider the best way to utilise the building.

“Development of large format retail centres outside of the Central Business District such as the Westwood development in Springlands and a Mitre 10 store in Redwoodtown, has resulted in empty shop space in the town centre,” Jason says.

“Shop space in our building has suffered particularly badly due to its location on the periphery of the Central Business District.”

He says apartment living has traditionally been more of the domain of the larger cities.

“However, with a range of pressures on accommodation, changes in lifestyles and changes in perceptions and attitudes, apartment living is becoming an accepted, convenient and affordable living option for some people in smaller town centres.”

Council documents show TH Barnes & Co engaged a lawyer to draft a ‘Noise and Nuisance’ agreement that could be signed by both parties ahead of the development.

The documents were not signed by Terry, it says.

Plans for the apartment include double glazed windows to minimise sound intrusion and an acoustic engineer’s report found the apartments comply with the noise rule for residential activity within the CBD.

“Our proposed development will help revitalise a town that has suffered from loss of government and corporate offices to larger centres and to loss of retail shops in the town centre,” Jason says.

The team from BlueBerryIT, the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce 2019 Business Excellence Awards supreme winners. Photo: Supplied.

Best of business in the boom

A celebration of Marlborough’s businesses has seen some of the region’s best gather to mark industry achievements.

The 2019 Business Excellence Awards took place on Friday night at the Marlborough Convention Centre.

Nelson computer repair and IT business BlueberryIT was the overall winner at the glitzy event, scoring high and with an “x-factor that inspired” the Marlborough community, and the judges.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson says the awards were everything he hoped they would be.

“There cannot be a better celebration of business excellence in Marlborough,” Hans says.

“Sometimes, in the day to day, we forget our defining qualities, but to a fresh set of eyes they are readily apparent.”

He says the night was about recognising and celebrating excellence, innovation, and success of businesses and not-for-profit organisations across Marlborough.

A panel of judges, themselves successful businesspeople, chose the winners from the varied categories.

Well & Good Health won the Marlborough Convention Centre Emerging Business Award for a business that has started trading within the last 2 years.

Explore Marlborough Wine Tours won the Haack Construction Small Business Award for a business that has an annual turnover of less than $1 million.

BlueBerryIT won the Dominion Salt Medium Business Award for a business that has an annual turnover of between $1 million and $3.5 million.

New Zealand King Salmon won the Marlborough Lines Large Business Award for a business that has an annual turnover of over $3.5 million.

Cordall won the Only Marlborough Clever Business Award for a business that demonstrates innovation and responds to change.

Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough won the New Zealand King Salmon Community Impact Award that recognises a programme or business that has had a positive impact on the Marlborough community in a way that inspires others and makes a difference.

The Paper Rain Project co-founder Indigo Greenlaw was named the NZME Young Business Person of the Year Award, impressing judges with her ethics and business achievements.

Indigo was awarded the prize over two other nominees; DR Strength owner Richard de Reeper and The Honey Collection chief executive Georgia Devlin.

Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants director Tony de Reeper was awarded the Trustpower Business Person of the Year Award, demonstrating leadership, vision and community involvement as well as having proven business achievements.

Two others were nominated for the distinguished award, Vines Village co-owner Jeff Fulton and Cuddon chief executive Andy Rowe.

Terry and Toni Gillan were inducted into the Business Hall of Fame, designed to recognise those who have, during their business career, demonstrated service both to their industry and to the greater Marlborough community.

All entries into the emerging, small, medium and large business categories were automatically entered into the Supreme Business Award.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson and Marlborough Media director Summa MacDonald. Photo: Andrew Board.

Shop & Win competition puts $5k up for grabs

One lucky Marlburian will win $5000 cash thanks to a new local promotion, Shop & Win.

Shop & Win is a joint promotion between 30 local retailers, Marlborough Weekly and the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and will see a total of $6000 given to locals.

The competition is simple, buy anything at one of the 30 participating businesses between 22 October and 29 November, fill in an entry form and you’re in the draw.

After six weeks one winning entry form will be pulled from the pile and the name on that entry will win $5000 cash.

There are also second and third prizes of $750 and $250 respectively.

Marlborough Weekly co-owner Summa MacDonald says the competition encourages people to shop locally.

“We have so many fantastic retailers here in Marlborough and this competition is a way to encourage people to support them and go in the draw to win a massive prize,” Summa says.

“It’s such a cool way to get the town buzzing and it’s so simple for people to take part.

“We encourage everyone to fill in a form when you shop because there will be a local winner.”

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Hans Neilson says when you buy local your dollars kick off a multiplier effect.

“Spending your money at independent businesses begins a cycle in which those businesses then spend their money at local shops, support community groups and employ locals.”

Hans says small local businesses are the “economic backbone” of Marlborough.

“Many don’t have large marketing budgets so this offers a resource to raise their profile by being a part of something bigger, something that supports Marlborough as a whole,” he says.

“This is a great campaign and we’re proud to support it.

“It’s a gift to your community, and with Marlborough Anniversary coming what better way to say happy birthday.”

A full list of the participating businesses is on page 9 of this newspaper, or keep an eye out for the Shop & Win posters in the windows of participating businesses. A full list is also on the Marlborough App.

Wairau River winemaker Same rose and viticulturist Hamish Rose toasting to their Champion Sauvignon Blanc. Photo: Supplied.

Wine win for Marlborough family

A pioneering family of winemakers has seen off competition from thousands to see one of its wines come out on top.

Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has taken the Champion Sauvignon Blanc title at the 2019 New World Wine Awards.

In its 17th year, the awards attracted 1274 entries from 176 wineries across New Zealand and overseas.

Seventeen independent wine experts took part in a blind taste test with only varietal, vintage and country of origin noted.

The Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc 2019 comes from the Rose Family Estate vineyards located in the Wairau Valley,

Winemakers Sam Rose and Nick Entwistle and viticulturalist Hamish Rose are extremely proud of the wine.

Sam says he believes the 2019 growing season and harvest contributed to the wines outstanding quality.

“The warm and fine weather through the late summer months allowed the development of a riper spectrum of tropical flavours, providing us with excellent blending components to create our Sauvignon Blanc” he says.

Volunteers spent four hours picking 6kgs of gorse flowers. Photo: Supplied.

Gin fuels record gorse harvest

A key ingredient in a Marlborough-made gin is helping keep a notorious weed at bay.

Record hauls of gorse flower have been gathered at a community harvest event.

Six kilogrammes of the yellow flower were handpicked over four hours.

Twice a year, the team behind Marlborough’s new Elemental Distillery organise a local foraging event.

In a bid to entice people to pick the problem plant, which causes misery to hay fever sufferers every spring, Elemental Distillers co-owner Ben Leggett puts on a free BBQ.

But Ben himself is a big fan of the plant.

“I simply love it. Not only is it both aromatic, herbaceous and fruity but it’s somewhat of an anti-establishment botanical in a market already full of rogue exotic species.

“The only issue remaining is how to harvest it in peak flowering and in volumes enough to last until the following season,” he says.

The answer came in the form of eight off-road vehicles, one gourmet barbeque put on by Francis Nolan from Boom Chef, a large pine plantation, local volunteers and some very thick gloves.

Introduced around the early 19th century as a hedgerow for livestock by European settlers, gorse flourished in New Zealand’s temperate climate flowering twice a year compared to just once in the Northern Hemisphere.

Gorse also generates exploding seed pods which can travel over 6 metres from the parent plant and can lay dormant in soil for up to 50 years before sprouting.

Ben says thanks to a collaboration with Marlborough 4WD Club, 15 local volunteers headed up into Marlborough’s Kaituna Hills last month aiming for a 300-meter-high plateau located in Stoney Creek forestry.

“Without the support by Marlborough locals, we would never have been able to deliver a fresh botanical gin like that of Roots,” Ben says.

Project coordinator Alec McNeil is overseeing a nationwide initiative which could see people paid to recycle. Photo: Matt Brown.

Cash for trash

Marlborough could help lead the way in a national bid to help boost recycling levels.

The council’s solid waste manager Alec McNeil will oversee a pioneering project which could see people paid to drop off empty drink containers.

And he believes Marlburians will be quick to take up the initiative.

“Marlborough is used to source separation of recycling so the possibility of a future Container Recycle Scheme (CRS) should complement and add to our existing approach,” he says.

Council's solid waste manager Alec McNeil believes Marlburians will be quick to take up the initiative. Photo: Matt Brown.
Council’s solid waste manager Alec McNeil believes Marlburians will be quick to take up the initiative. Photo: Matt Brown.

Under the scheme, which was unveiled last week, plastic, glass and aluminium drink containers will carry a refundable deposit, potentially between 5-20 cents each.

Helping people cash in on their empties could be key to boosting recycling levels.

Alec says he believes any initiative would rely on being readily available.

“A key focus of the design will be ensuring equity of service provision across NZ that affords all communities the opportunity to engage with the system,” he says.

“At a more strategic level a CRS changes the way we think about containers by reintroducing a value back into the material”.

Marlborough and Auckland councils will carry out the project design together following a government funding boost of almost $1 million.

Alec, who is project coordinator and deputy spokesman is a trustee on the Agrecovery Foundation Trust Board.

He says the scheme will help keeps useful resources out of landfills and has the potential to create new jobs.

The two councils will work with the Ministry for the Environment and others including the beverage, packaging and recycling industries, councils, retailers, charitable organisations, Māori and consumer representatives.

The application was initiated from involvement with the National Resource Recovery Group (NRR).

The NRR was convened by the Ministry for the Environment to consider a response to the recycling challenges facing NZ.

“In lieu of the contraction of markets particularly post the ‘National Sword’ policy implemented by China,” Alec says.

China has introduced strict rules around importing solid wastes as raw materials. The policy bans various plastic, paper and solid waste.

Alec says a CRS scheme would impact on material flow.

“Auckland and Marlborough councils offered to submit an application to the waste minimisation fund to facilitate a working group that would design a CRS for NZ.“

A final design is due to be presented to the Government by August 2020 and rolled out in 2022.

Café Herb and Olive owner Richard Barton with 10-year-old fox terrier Pepe. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Paws clause gives dog-friendly businesses mark of approval

Dog-friendly businesses are set to get the paws-up, displaying special stickers where pooches are welcome.

For the first time in decades, dogs are allowed in Blenheim’s town centre from Tuesday as a bylaw banning them is lifted for a month.

And a specially made paw print sticker will go up in businesses around town where pooches are permitted.

For Richard Barton from café Herb & Olive, allowing dogs in with customers was an easy decision to make.

“I have no problem with dogs being outside,” he says.

The 65th Black Hawk National Dog Show gets underway in Blenheim between 2 and 5 October.

With up to 1200 dogs expected at the event, the by law will be lifted for the whole month.

The Blenheim Business Association (BBA) have organised the stickers which feature a black paw print with a heart in it.

These ‘dog friendly’ stickers make it easy for those businesses welcoming dogs in the town centre to be clearly seen.

BBA spokeswoman Caroline Stone says the association supports the trial.

“We need to wait and see how the trial goes but we support the trial as bylaws need to be revisited on a regular basis as the world changes.

“We’re really happy with the support from CBD businesses.

“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback on the sticker initiative – and the feedback from the National Dog Show competitors via Facebook has been awesome too,” she says.

Trial rules state that all dogs must be on a leash and under control.

Owners must clean up after their dogs. Failure to do so could result in a $300 fine.

 

Black Hawk 2019 National Dog Show

National Breed Show – Wed 2 to Sat 5 Oct, Stadium 2000
Obedience Show – Thu 3 to Sat 5 Oct, Convention Centre
Agility Comp – Sat 5 – Sun 6 Oct, Rewi Murray Polo Grounds

Chateau Marlborough chief executive officer Brent Marshall and general manager Lynley McKinnon. Photo: Matt Brown.

Double win celebrations for hotel

A Marlborough hotel has been awarded back-to-back wins at a prestigious Australasian hotel competition.

Chateau Marlborough won the HM Australasian Hotel of the Year for Best NZ Regional Hotel for the second year running, one of only two hotels to achieve the award twice and in their second year of attending the ceremony.

General manager Lynley McKinnon says winning the award was very much a team effort.

“We’ve got a dedicated team of staff that is striving for excellence, which makes the success fantastic for the hotel,” she says.

The 2019 HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence, now in their 17th year, are the leading industry in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

More than 900 people attended the awards dinner at the Sydney’s International Convention Centre last Friday and over 60 awards were handed out across 48 categories.

Chief executive officer Brent Marshall says to be the second hotel in 17 years to win the award in consecutive years was a “very pleasing surprise”.

“We were up against 15 others of an exceedingly high standard, to be announced as the winner was satisfying and humbling at the same time,” Brent says.

“There has been a lot of continual work to wh? And improve.

“It’s great for the Marlborough region to be acknowledged as a province that offers a quality experience.

“The awards are a reflection of the staff, from the manager down.”

Lynley was a finalist in the NZ General Manager of the Year category and executive chef James Sievewright was a finalist for the Australasian Hotel Chef of the Year.

The judging panel was made up of industry leaders and travel writers from the Australasian region.

HM editor-in-chief and chief judge of the HM Awards James Wilkinson says the calibre of this year’s entries were the best in the event’s history.

“The quality of entries in the HM Awards this year was unlike anything we have seen before. It was a challenge to even choose the finalists from up to 80 entries in some cases, let alone decide on a winner and highly commended,” James says.

“To even be a finalist this year was a massive effort and many of our winners have also been employee of the year or hotel of the year in their own organisations, so it was an incredibly strong field of entries in 2019.”

Rose Built Homes office in the Blenheim CBD. Photo: Matt Brown.

Hope after company collapse

A young Blenheim couple who faced losing their first home after the collapse of a building business has been thrown a lifeline.

Anastasia Brown and Caleb Mischeski faced losing $50,000 after a now-defunct Blenheim building company was placed into liquidation.

But other businesses have since stepped up to help those burnt by the collapse of Marlborough company Rose Built Homes last week.

Peter Ray Homes have taken on Anastasia Brown’s build on Blenheim’s Taylor Pass Road, which has languished for more than three months.

Rose Built Homes office in the Blenheim CBD. Photo: Matt Brown.
Rose Built Homes office in the Blenheim CBD. Photo: Matt Brown.

Peter Ray Homes director Donna Lee says their builders are working at a reduced margin to get her into the house.

“We really want to help Anastasia out,” Donna says.

RBH Limited, trading as Rose Built Homes, was placed into liquidation on 5 September.

It has since come to light the company’s two directors, Kyle Payne and Ryan Butler operated a web of interconnected companies.

Peter Ray Homes has come to the rescue of the young couple after the now-defunct building company Rose Built Homes went under. Photo: Matt Brown.
Peter Ray Homes has come to the rescue of the young couple after the now-defunct building company Rose Built Homes went under. Photo: Matt Brown.

The pair, who are no longer in contact with each other, have since fled town, leaving some Marlborough businesses out of pocket by at least $1.4million.

More than 40 businesses and subcontractors have come forward to date are worried staff and family members.

A source says the company’s troubles were clear to those in the building industry.

For Anastasia, who put money given to her by her grandparents towards the $338,000 home, says the first sign of trouble was when scaffolding was pulled down.

The house, on Taylor Pass Road, has sat for months with no roofs and no activity. Photo: Matt Brown.
The house, on Taylor Pass Road, has sat for months with no roof and no activity. Photo: Matt Brown.

A skip on-site was then emptied on where the couple’s front lawn was going as bills weren’t paid.

“Every week I asked when the roof was coming on, and every week they would say Friday.

“I found out from the plumber, they just vanished, I got incredibly stressed about it so my parents took over,” she says.

“The liquidator cancelled their contract with us. It’s pretty shitty, but I was lucky to find Donna from Peter Ray Homes.”

In January, Butler and Payne transferred 90 per cent of the shares of RBH to a holding company, NOA Development Group Limited.

NOA was removed from the companies register in July.

One unsecured creditor, who didn’t want to be named, says alarm bells for him started ringing in June.

“RBH was charging $2-300sqm cheaper than everyone else but were $16,700 a week in the red.

“It’s bad management.”

Anderson Architectural Design owner Jason Anderson says Ryan and Kyle were not “cut out to run a business.”

“They’re the type of guys you could have a beer with,” he says. “They just weren’t cut out to run a business.”

Jason says there were seven Rose Built Homes houses under construction and another person who had paid a deposit when the company folded.

Former project manager Graeme Andrews resigned from the company six weeks ago after a year with the company.

He says while he is not owned any money, he was “a little bit uncomfortable.”

“I was concerned I maybe wasn’t getting the right information. I had suspicions, but I had no idea.

“All I can say is I don’t have the full picture or the full information.

“Everyone in town knew there were issues.

The reason I did stick around was for the tradies…and for the clients, a lot of which were young couples. I felt for them.”

 

Butler and Payne affiliated companies:

 

Maddison Group Limited – Trading name: Tru Cut Property services

Industry Classification(s): N731340 Property maintenance service (own account)

Registered from 2 May 2017 to 22 Aug 2019

Kyle Payne owns 100% of 2 shares

Directors: Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne. Ashleigh Broughton was a director until 3 April 2019.

 

3rd Gen Homes Limited

Industry Classification(s): E301120 Building, house construction

Registered from 18 August 2016 – in process of being removed from register for being overdue in its obligation to file an annual return.

Ryan Butler owns 100% of 100 shares.

Carl Ross Butler ceased being a director: 01/12/2016 – but the paperwork to remove him as a director was filed July 2019

Directors: Ryan Butler.

 

RBH Limited

Industry Classification(s):

In Liquidation

Registered from 18 July 2017 to 05 September 2019

NOA Development Group Limited owns 90% of 100 shares (90).

Ross Stuart Butler (Ryan’s dad) owns 10% of 100 shares (10).

Directors: Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne.

 

Rose Built Limited

Industry Classification(s): E301120 Building, house construction

Registered on 16 January 2019 – current

NOA Development Group Limited owns 100% of 200 shares.

Directors: Ryan Butler and Kyle Payne.

 

NOA Development Group Limited

Industry Classification(s): E321120 Land development or subdivision (excluding construction)

Registered from 3 August 2018 to 17 July 2019.

Ryan Butler owns 50% of 100 shares.

Kyle Payne owns 50% of 100 shares.

Nelson Marlborough Health chief executive Peter Bramley and Tasman Rugby Union’s commercial and marketing manager Les Edwards celebrate their recent health partnership. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Aiming to kick sugar for touch

In a first for New Zealand rugby, the region’s health board has signed up with the Tasman union to become its official health and wellbeing partner.

Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) has replaced the union’s former partner, Coca Cola Powerade, and will see the Mako players promote health initiatives.

As part of the three-year, $15,000 deal, the Tasman Rugby Union will encourage positive health-related decisions and behaviour among its stadium audiences, club rugby communities and schools.

Its focus will be on the reduction of sugar consumption, the promotion of smoke free environments, alcohol harm reduction and promoting metal wellbeing and resilience.

NMH chief executive Peter Bramley says the partnership as an “innovative and powerful” public health initiative.

“As the official health and wellbeing partner of the Tasman Rugby Union, we can leverage the influence that Mako players have among youngsters in our region. We can also the reach the TRU has into clubs, schools and the wider community, to inspire positive health decisions and behaviour.”

He says the sponsorship is a “prudent investment”, even amid revelations that the health board is in a $20 million deficit.

“It costs as much as $5000 to remove one child’s teeth under general anaesthetic and we are seeing far too many children needing this kind of unnecessary hospital care in our region.

“The terrible health effects of sugary drinks don’t stop at teeth – sugary drinks are the cause of obesity, diabetes and other serious health conditions that are a heavy burden on every DHB’s finances.”

Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis says that promoting healthier living to its player base is important to them individually and as players in an active competitive sport.

“As a union we are excited to be working progressively with NMH over three years to achieve our collective goal of encouraging our players to reduce their sugar intake and to be mentally and physically healthier.”

NMH health promotion manager Lauren Ensor says being sponsored by Coca Cola seemed to be “inappropriate” because surgery drinks were the main cause of sugar in New Zealander’s diets.

“We aim to see an increasing health focus within rugby locally over the coming years and hopefully that inspires other unions and New Zealand Rugby to follow suit.”